EVGA Z77 FTW Mainboard

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Motherboard Layout

In the grand scale of things, EVGA has actually been around for a relatively short time compared to some of the other major players in the PC market. That by no means, is an indication of EVGA's success. This year they are celebrating their 13th anniversary, founded 13 years ago today to be more exact. According to EVGA, they have built their reputation "Based on the philosophy of Intelligent innovation, market knowledge, and the real time operation, EVGA continues to identify the need in the market place and providing the solution to that need. By offering product differentiation, 24/7 tech support, a 90 day Step-Up program, and other customer focused programs, EVGA is a clear leader in all categories!" Personally I have purchased several EVGA products for personal use in recent years and they have never let me down, my first experience with EVGA was with the EVGA X58 Tri SLI motherboard that I still have floating around here. It may no longer be in use, but I have no doubt that I could fire it up without and issue.

Since the days of my dated EVGA X58 Tri SLI motherboard, there have been some very significant improvements in the chipset, processors, and the integrated peripherals. For starters, the EVGA Z77 FTW is built around the Intel Z77 chipset using the Intel LGA1155 (H2) socket. The Intel Z77 chipset is meant to be used with the latest 3rd generation 22nm 'Ivy Bridge' processor from Intel. Not to worry though, it will still happily support the 2nd generation 'Sandy Bridge' processors if you are looking to upgrade in pieces from a Sandy Bridge system.

The video above is from EVGA and covers the unboxing and some of the features of the EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 motherboard. It's a short video only ~5 minutes so they don't have a lot of time to go into great detail, but it is a good general overview of the Z77 FTW. As we go through our tour of EVGA's entrance into the Z77 race we will take a closer look at some of the key components.

The EVGA Z77 FTW has a very comprehensive list of key features, only a couple of them were mentioned in the above video. The few mentioned include the triple BIOS Support, 4-way SLI support, and 300% more gold inside the LGA1155 CPU socket. That barely scratches the surface though. Check out the bullet lists below of the key features and specifications and then join us on the next page where we will take a look at the retail package and bundle of the EVGA Z77 FTW (151-IB-E699-KR)!

EVGA Z77 FTW (For The Win) 151-IB-E699-KR Intel Z77 Spceifications

EVGA Z77 FTW Motherboard Retail Packaging

EVGA Z77 FTW Retail Box and Bundle

The EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 motherboard packaging is very straight forward and to the point. The front of the packaging features the Z77 FTW (For The Win) product name in eye catching design. We can also find some of the basic information regarding the chipset (Intel Z77), socket (LGA1155), and processor support. Along the top edge we can see that the EVGA Z77 FTW features SuperSpeed USB 3.0, SATA III 6Gbps, and is PCIe Gen 3.0 ready.

EVGA Z77 FTW Retail Box and Bundle

The back of the EVGA Z77 FTW gives us our first look at the Z77 FTW motherboard and breaks into the key features, warranty, EVGA 24/7 support, and the EVGA 90 day step-up program. Along the bottom of the edge we can see that EVGA has included their free overclocking utility ELEET

EVGA Z77 FTW Retail Box and Bundle

Once we start to disassemble the retail packaging for the EVGA Z77 FTW motherboard we can see that it is packaged within a plastic clamshell with all of the paperwork and accessories sitting on top. This is quite a deviation from what we saw with the EVGA Z68 FTW motherboard retail packaging. The EVGA Z68 FTW had everything bundled neatly in separate boxes for the motherboard and the bundle. Once we get past this point it doesn't really make a difference but I personally like the packaging found on the Z68 FTW better, it seemed much more secure.

EVGA Z77 FTW Retail Box and Bundle

Once we remove the paper work and accessories from the top of the clam shell, we can see a very nice looking motherboard contained within!

EVGA Z77 FTW Retail Box and Bundle

Once I broke down the bundle, certain aspects felt a little light to me. I was a little surprised to see that the EVGA Z77 FTW motherboard came with only four SATA cables. The EVGA Z77 FTW (151-IB-E699-KR) supports eight SATA ports, so if you are planning on running more than four drives you will need to get your hands on a couple more. This isn't a huge deal to me, more of a minor annoyance. Though they did include two four pin molex to SATA power cables. EVGA did include plenty of expansion brackets for us though, we have a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 expansion bracket, USB 2.0 Expansion backet, and a IEEE1394a (Firewire) bracket. Of course we have the I/O shield, user manual, quick install guide, drive/software disk, a 2-way SLI bridge, and a 3-way SLI bridge. Though I am a little surprised that EVGA didn't include a 4-way SLI bridge. I can understand this as 99% of the users aren't likely to be running four cards like the NVIDIA GTX 680.

EVGA Z77 FTW Motherboard Layout

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Motherboard Layout

The EVGA Z77 FTW has a very good look to it. While it may be slightly over done these days, the red and black color scheme works very well and will look good in just about all PC cases (there's always an exception though). If you can't tell from the picture the EVGA Z77 FTW is larger than a standard ATX motherboard. A standard ATX motherboard measures 12 in (305 mm)x9.6 in (244 mm)(Width x Depth) and the EVGA Z77 FTW measures 12 in (305 mm)x10.375 (263. 5 mm).

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Motherboard Layout

Starting out looking at the DIMM slots, EVGA has the Z77 FTW listed as supporting 2133MHz+ memory modules on their website. Though their BIOS tells us a different tale, we can set the memory multiplier up to 3000MHz! Along the leading edge of the EVGA Z77 FTW we can find a 4pin system fan header, a clear CMOS button, power and reset buttons, a Debug LED that also doubles as a CPU temperature display, 24pin motherboard power,

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Motherboard Layout

Rotating the EVGA Z77 FTW around, we can see that we have access to eight SATA ports, the four SATA ports on the left are the Intel Z77 SATA II 3Gbps ports, the next pair of red SATA ports are also part of the Intel Z77 chipset and are capable of SATA III 6Gbps. The final set of SATA ports are also rated for SATA III 6Gbps and are controlled by a Marvell 9182 SATA III 6Gbps controller. Just above the first set of SATA ports is a jumper for Dark Mode. The Dark Mode jumper will disable all of the LED's on the EVGA Z77 FTW. If you like the EVGA Z77 FTW, but aren't a fan of LED's on a motherboard you can disable them! Immediately to the left of the SATA ports is our three separate BIOS chips, two are soldered in while BIOS 1 chip looks to be interchangeable. Moving just above the BIOS 1 chip is the selector switch that will allow you to change which BIOS you are using. Above the BIOS switch, is the pinout for the front panel LED's and switches, followed by the internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 header. If you watched the video on the first page, you may remember them mentioning that the fan on the heatsink above is nice and quiet. I won't argue this, unless you decide to crank up the speed manually, then it is easily noticeable.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Motherboard Layout

Spinning the EVGA Z77 FTW around once again and picking up where we left off, we can see a pair of 4pin system fan headers, internal IEEE 1394 (firewire), a pair of internal USB 2.0 headers, onboard system speaker, and a 6pin PCIe power. Much like the 24pin motherboard power above, EVGA has placed this 6pin PCIe plug on a right angle to the board to help with cable management. Rounding the corner of the EVGA Z77 FTW we can see the AMIBIOS LJ53 chip, front panel audio and SPDIF out headers, and teh Realtek ALC898 High Definition Audio Codec. The EVGA Z77 FTW features five PCIe x16 slots and can support up to 4way SLI and CrossFireX. The Intel Z77 chipset doesn't supply enough PCIe lanes to do this on its own, so EVGA impemented a PLX8747 which adds to the number of PCIe lanes for better multi GPU performance.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Motherboard Layout

Taking a look at the final corner we can see the second of the PCIe 6pin power plugs. You can run either one when running multiple GPU's. It all depends on which spot works better for your cable management. We can also see a pair of 4pin system fan headers, as well as the pair of 8pin CPU power plugs that can deliver 300 Watts of power to the CPU. Though you only need to run one of them under most circumstances.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Motherboard Layout

The EVGA Z77 FTW has a total of six USB 2.0 ports and four SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports. Two of the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports are from the Intel Z77 chipset, these are the set on the right. The left set of USB 3.0 ports are controlled by an ASMedia ASM1042 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 controller. Above the USB 3.0 ports is a pair of Marvell Yukon 88E8059 Gigabit Ethernet controllers. Between the USB 3.0 ports and the audio out jacks we can find a mini DisplayPort which can be used to take advantage of the Intel HD 3000 graphics on either the Sandy Bridge processors or the Intel HD 4000 graphics on the Ivy Bridge processors like our Intel Core i7 3770K. Towards the left end of the I/O panel we can find the clear CMOS button, as well as a PS/2 keyboard port.

EVGA Z77 FTW (151-IB-E699-KR) System BIOS

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

The BIOS within the EVGA Z77 FTW are very reminiscent of the traditional BIOS we used to use pre Sandy Bridge. Everything is done with the keyboard, there is no mouse controls here. It may not be fancy, but EVGA has their BIOS sorted out real well. The first page that we enter into the BIOS on gives us some system information. We can check our voltage, temperatures and some of the basic information like memory speed and amount.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

The next tab of the EVGA Z77 FTW will give us access to most of the configuration option pages. The advanced tab will give us access to the ACPI Settings, Onboard Devices Configuration, SATA Configuration, USB Configuration, SMART Settings, H/W Monitor, and the Intel Smart Connect Technology.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

When we head into the overclocking page, we have access to a couple of sub pages for the memory configuration, CPU configuration, and Bclk Settings. Most of the rest of the options are right here on this page. We can adjust our CPU Multiplier, and all of our voltages right here.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

The memory settings sub page has all of our memory options. Above you can see that we can set the memory to an impressive 3000MHz!

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

We also have all of our CPU options on the CPU settings page.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

Here we can tweak all of our CPU power options.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

On the Bclk Settings page we can alter our Bclk.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

Above you can see the boot options page.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

Above you can set the passwords for the Administrator and the user.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

The final page is the save and exit page. Nothing out of the ordinary here, we can save, exit, discard changes and override the typical boot sequence, and set our BIOS Profiles.

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR System UEFI BIOS

The EVGA Z77 FTW has a total of eight BIOS save slots, combine that with three different and selectable BIOS chips, and you can save thirty different profiles.

The Legit Reviews Test System

Before we look at the numbers, here is a brief glance at the test systems that were used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.

Intel Z77 System

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Motherboard Review

                                            Intel Test Rig

 Processor  Intel Core I7 3770K  Live Pricing
 Motherboard  See Above
 Live Pricing
 Memory  8gb Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz  Live Pricing
 Hard Drive  Kingston SSDNow 96GB SSD  Live Pricing
 Video Card  XFX Radeon HD 6950  Live Pricing
 CPU cooler  Corsair A70
 Live Pricing
 Chassis  None - Open Bench  
 Power Supply  Corsair TX750   Live Pricing

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Intel Z77 System Settings

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Intel Z77 System Settings

SiSoftware Sandra 2012 Sp3 Memory Bandwidth

Sisoftware Sandra 2011 SP5

The Sisoftware Sandra 2012 SP3 benchmark utility just came out a few weeks ago and we have started to include it in our benchmarking. Sandra 2012 comes with support for Virtualisation (Virtual PC/Server, Hyper-V, VMware) and GPGPU (OpenCL, DirectX 11 DirectCompute), but today we will be using the program to look at memory and CPU performance!

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Sandra 2012 SP1 Memory Benchmark Scores

Benchmark Results: The EVGA Z77 FTW memory bandwidth performance in SiSoftware Sandra isn't far off from what we have seen previously. Our fastest board is the MSI Z77A-GD65 with an aggregate performance of 21.771GB/s while the EVGA Z77 FTW brought an aggregate memory bandwidth performance of 21.439GB/s. That's a difference of only 1.5%, which isn't much of anything to be concerned about.

Futuremark 3DMark 11 DirectX 11 Gaming Benchmark

3DMark 11 Screenshot

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.

3DMark 11 Settings

Since Futuremark is releasing 3DMark11 today we decided to run the benchmark at both performance and extreme presets to see how our hardware will run.

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Motherboard 3DMark11 Extreme Preset Benchmark Results

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Motherboard 3DMark 11 Extreme Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: There isn't a lot of performance difference between the Intel Z77 motherboards that we have tested, in fact only 1.7% separate the top performing board, and the bottom of the charts. The EVGA Z77 FTW was able to pull out an overall score of 1624 3DMarks, which is only 1 point from the bottom of the charts.

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Motherboard 3DMark11 Performance Preset Benchmark Results

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Motherboard 3DMark 11 Performance Benchmark Results

Benchmark results: Looking at the performance preset of 3DMark 11, the EVGA Z77 FTW rounded out the bottom of the charts with an overall score of 5148 3DMarks. That's only 3 points behind the next board, but 182 3DMarks or 3.5% behind the leading ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe.

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 (BF3) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America on October 25, 2011 and in Europe on October 28, 2011. It does not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista as the game only supports DirectX 10 and 11. It is a direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release and the PC download is exclusive to EA's Origin platform, through which PC users also authenticate when connecting to the game.

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 debuts the new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions. Unlike previous iterations, the new version can also support dense urban areas. Battlefield 3 uses a new type of character animation technology called ANT. ANT technology is used in EA Sports games, such as FIFA, but for Battlefield 3 is adapted to create a more realistic soldier, with the ability to transition into cover and turn the head before the body.

This game looks great and we tested with the highest settings possible.  This means we used 'ultra' settings and really punished the cards being tested. We ran FRAPS for two minutes on the single player map called 'Rock and a Hard Place' for benchmarking.

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Battlefield 3 Performancet

Benchmark Results:
Since Battlefield 3 is tested using FRAPS, there can be a decent margin of error. With that being said, there isn't a very substantial difference in the boards that we have tested. The EVGA Z77 FTW was a little bit on the low side with an average of 56.444 frames per second at 1280x1024 and 41.252 frames per second at 1920x1080. That's a performance margin of 2% at 1280x1024 and 1.8% at 1920x1080. Being that it is nearly 2% at both resolutions, these are pretty accurate results.

Mass Effect 3


Image Description

Not everyone will survive. An ancient alien race, known only as "Reapers", has launched an all-out invasion leaving nothing but a trail of destruction in their wake. Earth has been taken, the galaxy is on the verge of total annihilation, and you are the only one who can stop them. The price of failure is extinction. You are Commander Shepard, a character that you can forge in your own image. You determine how events will play out, which planets to explore, and whom to form alliances with as you rally a force to eliminate the Reaper threat once and for all. How you wage this war is completely up to you: go into combat with guns blazing or use cover to plan a more tactical assault. Utilize your squad to full effect or take a lone wolf approach. Rain death from a distance or go toe--to-toe with enemies using devastating melee attacks. Mass Effect 3 will react to each decision you make as you play through a truly unique experience of your own creation. The war for Earth has begun, decide how it ends.

Mass Effect 3 Game Settings

The graphics settings in Mass Effect 3 are pretty limited. We had Antialiasing and Dynamic Shadows both enabled. In order to disable the VSync we edited the configuration file and added the lines; 'UseVsync=False' and 'SmoothFramerate=False'. If you want to edit your configuration file you can find it at 'C:Usersyour usernameDocumentsBioWareMass Effect 3BIOGameConfigGamerSettings.ini'.

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Mass Effect 3 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The EVGA Z77 FTW galls right into the middle of the charts in Mass Effect 3. Running Mass Effect 3 at 1280x1024 the EVGA Z77 FTW was able to average 150.192 frames per second, only 2.3 frames per second behind the chart topping GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H that averaged 152.525 fps. Increasing the resolution to 1920x1080 the EVGA Z77 FTW was able to average 108.65 frames per second which puts it in the fourth position in the charts.

Intel Z77 SATA III 6Gbps Performance Testing

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

Intel Z77 SATA III 6Gbps CrystalDiskMark Performance Benchmark Results

The SATA III 6Gbps performance testing was completed using a Corsair Force GT 240Gb SATA III 6Gbps SSD.

Intel Z77 SATA III 6Gbps CrystalDiskMark Performance

Benchmark Results: The sequential read of the EVGA Z77 FTW was a little on the low side in CrystalDiskMark and averaged only 486.8MB/s. This is the lowest performance that we have seen to date, but not by a whole lot. The average sequential write of our other boards is 499.4MB/s, which is only 2.5% faster on average. The sequential write speeds of the EVGA Z77 FTW were right on par with a performance of 305.0MB/s.

HD Tune Pro 4.01 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z77 HD Tune Pro 5.00 Write Benchmark Results

Intel Z77 SATA III 6Gbps HD Tune Performance Benchmark Results

Intel Z77 HD Tune Pro 5.00 Read Benchmark Results

Intel Z77 SATA III 6Gbps HD Tune Performance Benchmark Results

Intel Z77 SATA III 6Gbps HD Tune Performance

Benchmark Results: The trend we saw in CrystalDiskMark continues in HD Tune. The EVGA Z77 FTW had the slowest average read speed with only 346.6MB/s while the average write speed was more in line with the other boards.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance Testing

Thermaltake BlackX 5G SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Dock

There are a number of different Super Speed USB 3.0 host controllers out there. In order to know which ones perform the best we run a series of tests that will put the controller through the ringer and see how it comes out on the other side. Each of our motherboards uses a different Super Speed USB 3.0 controller and you can find the below.

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 CrystalDiskMark Benchmark Results

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: The EVGA Z77 FTW features two separate SuperSpeed USB 3.0 controllers. The first, as expected with the Intel Z77 chipset is from the Intel Z77 Chipset. The second is from an ASMedia ASM1042 controller. The Intel SuperSpeed USB 3.0 was able to outperform the ASMedia controller by 28MB/s in the sequential read tests with a speed of 259.5MB/s compared to the ASMedia read speed of 231.5MB/s. The write speeds were nearly identical to each other with a difference of only .5MB/s. Comparing the EVGA Z77 FTW to our other Intel Z77 motherboards, the Intel SuperSpeed USB 3.0 was slightly behind most of them, though only 2MB/s - ~5MB/s.

HD Tune Pro 5.00 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 4.61 Read Benchmark Results

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune Benchmark Results

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune 5.00 Write Benchmark Results

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune Benchmark Results

Testing of the USB3 was done using the "Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station . The drive used was an Corsair Force GT 240Gb SSD.

Intel Z77 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Performance

Benchmark Results: In HD Tune, the results mimic what we saw in CrystalDiskMark. The Intel Z77 USB 3.0 Controller was quite a bit faster than the ASMedia ASM1042 controller, and right on par with our other Intel Z77 motherboards. The Intel Z77 controllers were separated by only a few MB/s. The ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe still reigns supreme and was nearly 35MB/s faster than the EVGA Z77 FTW.

Power Consumption

CPU Power Consumption

Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with the power supplies, case fans, video cards and hard drives. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, Prime95's in-place large FFT's were run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load for maximum power consumption and heat. Curious about real world scenarios, we decided to drop Furmark and ran 3DMark 11 on the performance preset and took the maximum power consumption during the first GPU test.

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Motherboard System Power Consumption

Benchmark Results: The EVGA Z77 FTW has an idle power consumption of 73 Watts. That puts it right in the middle of the pack when looking at the idle power consumption. Once we loaded up the CPU with Prime 95 large FFT's, the EVGA Z77 FTW was the third lowest power hungry motherboard. Under a full CPU load, the EVGA Z77 FTW was pulling only 148 Watts at the wall. Only 13 Watts more that the lowest board, and an impressive 31 Watts lower than the GIGABYTE G1 Sniper 3!

EVGA Z77 FTW (151-IB-E699-KR) Overclocking

Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get.

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Ivy Bridge Overclocking

The Intel Core i7 3770K utilizes a Bclk of 100MHz, under full load the Intel Core i7 3770K uses a multiplier of x35 to achieve the final clock speed of 3.5GHz. Since we are using a K series processor which has an unlocked multiplier we will be able to increase the default x35 multiplier to achieve our overclock today. The Intel Core i7 3770K has a turbo multiplier of x39 which will cause the system to run at 3900MHz (100MHz x 39).

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Ivy Bridge Overclocking

When it comes to Intel Ivy Bridge processors like our Intel Core i7 3770K, heat is a major player. Intel opted to use a thermal interface material to bond the heat spreader to the chip rather than soldering the two pieces together. In order remove the heat as a factor today, I used some chilled water to help keep our temperatures in check. Our previous motherboards we have been limited to 4.7GHz due to heat. Our Corsair A70 CPU cooler just wasn't able to keep up with the temperatures generated by the Intel Core i7 3770K. Using the chilled water today we were able to keep our temperatures in check and push our system to 4.9GHz and maintain temperatures under 90 degrees Celsius!

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Ivy Bridge Overclocking

This isn't the most ideal set-up to use, but it was a bit of an impulse decision to give this a try. We grabbed our trusty Corsair Hydro H60 water cooler, a bag of ice, and a bowl from the kitchen and dunked the radiator in the ice! We weren't sure how well this would work, but it did keep our idle temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius, and we were able to take our Intel Core i7 3770K further than have previously been able to! It may not be a pretty set up, but it worked for us!

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Ivy Bridge Overclocking

We didn't have to tweak much in the way of the settings. We set the CPU Multiplier control to manual, and set the CPU Multiplier to x49 and ultimately increased the CPU VCore to 1.35 Volts. We worked our way up to these settings gradually, but never ran into any major issues, just the occasional BSOD that is commonly encountered when overclocking.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

EVGA Z77 FTW 151-IB-E699-KR Motherboard Layout

One of the things I like about EVGA is their attention to detail. Whenever I have been working on cable management, the 24 pin motherboard power cable is always an eyesore, protruding straight up from the PCB, and just looking like garbage. EVGA has remedied this issue on the EVGA Z77 FTW, they have put the 24 pin plug on a right angle, causing it to run straight out from the board. This helps to hide the cable and helps give a very clean look inside the case. It may not effect the performance, but it's small things like this that can really sell me on a motherboard.

The overall performance of the EVGA Z77 FTW wasn't as high as I had been hoping for. Though from what I have noticed, I don't think that EVGA is at fault for that one. Our Intel Core i7 3770K runs at the Intel specifications, under full load the turbo bumps the core frequencies up to 3.7GHz. We can reference our article on the processor here. Under a light load the Intel Turbo Boost will bring a single core to 3.9GHz. Some of the Intel Z77 motherboards that we have looked at since the launch will run our Intel Core i7 3770K at 3.9GHz under a full processor load.

ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe CPUz 1.6

The above screen shot is from the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe and we can see that under a full load, our Intel Core i7 3770K is running at 3.9GHz versus the 3.7GHz that our EVGA Z77 FTW runs at. This doesn't make a very level playing field, we are essentially comparing an overclocked system, to one that is running at default speeds. It may only be 200Mhz, but in some tests that can make a world of difference. Other tests, not so much. if everyone were to run at the Intel specifications it would be a much more level playing field. Can we fault companies like ASUS for pushing the limits? Or do we fault companies like EVGA that follow specs? I have a feeling it is a bit of a moot point, as anyone that is worried about 200MHz, is likely to be overclocking their system when using a high end board like the EVGA Z77 FTW which is built to overclock!

We changed our set up for overclocking a little bit. we added a Corsair H60 and a bowl filled with ice and water. It was a bit of an impulse to set this up yesterday so it looks a little hacked together but it got the job done. We were able to remove the heat much more quickly than the Corsair A70 CPU Cooler that we typically use had been able to. By using this awesome (insert sarcasm here) chilled water setup we were able to push our Intel Core i7 3770K further than we were previously able to. Using the Corsair A70 CPU cooler we were limited to 4.7GHz due to heat. We couldn't add the necessary voltage to get any stability at 4.8GHz and higher. With the chilled water we were able to increase our voltage to 1.35 Volts and still maintain safe temperatures. Ultimately we were able to push the CPU multiplier to x49 and have total system stability!

EVGA Z77 FTW Intel Z77 Ivy Bridge Overclocking

The EVGA Z77 FTW isn't a board for the feint of heart. It currently carries a street price of $329.99 plus shipping, if you're looking for a top tier motherboard with all the bells and whistles you may not need to look any further! The EVGA Z77 FTW is backed by a three year warranty in the event of a failure.

Image Description

Legit Bottom Line: While the EVGA Z77 FTW may not have been our fastest motherboard, it was certainly consistent and rock solid. The EVGA Z77 FTW was one of the best overclocking boards that I have used to date, if you're in the market for one hell of a board I would easily recommend the EVGA Z77 FTW!